“If a man going down into a river, swollen and swiftly flowing, is carried away by the current — how can he help others across?” – The Buddha
I am that man. Some days, at least. Absorbing the toxic words and actions around me in the news, on the roadways and in my own home, I swell with anger or fear so plumped that I could not pull myself out of the fast flowing river of popular roars and rants if there were a thousand outstretched helping hands lined up along the banks for miles.
And yet, I know the flip of the switch we all possess to alleviate the suffering that comes from the world being too much with us. Choosing not to allow the inflow of water or to let it pass through prevents the swollen suffering.
Detachment isn’t a synonym for tuning out, more so tuning in while refusing to participate. The only way to survive this volatile time on the planet and at home is as the scientist examining the world and my responses to it under a bell jar, watching with dispassionate interest the outcome and culmination of all the forces I choose not to be swept up by, like that river that I can fall in and under or navigate with the vessel that allows safe passage–for me and you.
There is a switch we can all turn on that allows us not to react to the chaos and frenzy around us but to observe it without attachment. I keep looking for that light switch in the dark.